When Should You Donate?

When Should You Donate?

Charity Navigator | Donate | Get an online quote from Shield Insurance | More Blogs

Think back on the past few years and ask yourself: When do you usually donate? Are you volunteering during the holidays? Giving money when people in your life ask for you to join them in supporting a cause? While there is nothing wrong with donating at any time, your donations can do the best if you build a giving strategy with the needs of nonprofits in mind.

An Argument for Recurring Donations

Whether it’s television, meal kits, make-up, or games, chances are you have a subscription where you’re automatically billed monthly, quarterly, or annually. Subscriptions have proliferated in most areas of our life, and it follows that more and more donors are turning their one-time annual gifts into automatic recurring gifts. The impact of recurring giving programs on nonprofit programmatic innovations simply cannot be overstated.

If you’re on the fence, here are a few reasons why you may want to consider turning your one-time financial gifts into recurring gifts:

● Donate when it’s easier on your budget and less of a hassle for you and the charity.

Like your other subscriptions, recurring donations are automatic and effortless. This saves charities’ effort in asking you to donate again and saves you from having to fill out donation information repeatedly.

● Your support makes more of a difference.

Nonprofits with a robust recurring giving program are able to better set long-term strategic plans, knowing they’ll have a certain level of support from recurring donors.

● It shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of donation matches.

If you love to multiply the impact of your generosity by donating to match campaigns. As long as you reach out to an organization to confirm they will accommodate your wishes, you can have a gift (or gifts) from your recurring giving plan allocated toward an active match campaign when they occur. 

Similarly, charities with volunteer needs can benefit from consistency. Do you have two hours a week or a Saturday per month that you can commit to an organization? Putting yourself on their schedule (and showing up!) is a great way to provide stability and support for an organization. These opportunities are increasingly available online as well as in person. Find the best match for your skills, interests, and availability here

Times When Recurring Donations Aren’t Appropriate 

While recurring donations have many benefits, they are not the be-all-end-all of giving. There are reasons that charities may prefer to receive donations and volunteer support at particular times.

Processing donations can be costly. For smaller donations, organizations may prefer to receive lump sums. If you aren’t sure what a charity prefers, ask! Preferences will vary, and organizations know exactly what they need to thrive.

Organizations may also face volunteer boom and bust cycles throughout the year. For example, food banks often have an excess of volunteers during the holidays, but struggle to find enough volunteers in the summer. Offering to fill in when volunteers are scant can help bridge these gaps and keep nonprofits running smoothly. 

Setting Your Plan to Donate Into Motion

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Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

From Fire Starters to First Aid Kits, These Are the Best Emergency Supplies to Have at the Ready

Emergencies happen — be it snow storms, wildfires, or tornados. Here are some of the best emergency supplies to make sure you’re prepared

Rolling Stones | OSCAR HARTZOG | Emergency Supplies | Shield Insurance Quoting Portal | Shield Home

NO MATTER WHERE you live, emergencies can (and do) happen. But whether it’s snow storms, tornados, wildfires, or hurricanes, the danger of serious emergencies can almost always be mitigated by investing in the best emergency supplies.

But choosing the right emergency gear — or just figuring out what types of emergency supplies you should have — can be tricky. To make things easier, we’ve created a checklist of the best emergency supplies to help your household stay safe in the worst-case scenarios.

What Are the Best Emergency Supplies?

When stocking up on the best emergency supplies, you’ll want to start by considering what needs your emergency stash has to meet. Namely, you’ll need food and water, first aid supplies, and light and heat. If you want to go beyond the basics, we also recommend adding power, shelter (like an emergency tent), and survival tools to your emergency supplies checklist.

No matter what kind of emergency supply you’re looking at — be it a multi-tool, a camping stove, or an emergency food supply — be sure it’s well-built and capable of staying in working order while shelved. The best emergency supplies can be tucked away and taken out months, if not years later, and still function properly.

Read on for a full checklist of the best emergency supplies to stock up on now.

1. Survivor Filter Pro

The most important thing to secure in most emergency situations is clean drinking water. One way to create an emergency water supply is to buy a water tank that you fill up if you know an emergency is on the horizon (i.e. if there’s a tornado warning).

But a more efficient option for securing drinking water is to get an emergency water filter, such as this Survivor Filter Pro. The compact rig uses a pump mechanism to suck up water, run it through a filter, and pump out 500 milliliters of clean drinking water per minute. It’s also very lightweight (half a pound), so you can transport it if need be.

2. Leatherman Wave+

A reliable multi-tool has always been part of our everyday carry, but they become absolutely essential when disaster strikes. Our favorite multi-tool is this Leatherman Wave+, which packs 18 tools in a small package, measuring just four inches when closed. Inside, you’ll find basics like knives, scissors, screwdrivers, and pliers, as well as some good extras like a saw and a wire stripper.

3. Judy Mover Max

Survival kits are a great way to create an emergency supplies stash with just one purchase. Good examples include the Oprah-endorsed Judy Mover Max, which has water and food, safety and warmth, and tools and first aid — all in one ultra-durable, weatherproof backpack. It has enough supplies to sustain four people for 72 hours, and you don’t have to worry about grabbing multiple items during an evacuation.

4. Mountain House Classic Bucket of Emergency Supplies

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10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

10 Smartest Money Moves for 2023

Ring in the new year right with smart money moves

AARP | By Bruce Horovitz | December 19, 2022 | Money Moves | Shield Insurance Agency

With 2023 just days away, could there be a more confusing time for investors? On one hand, the discussion is all about the upcoming recession — but is there actually going to be one? On the other hand, the discussion is also about the inflation monster, which has seriously impacted all of our wallets.

But are there signs that the monster is finally getting tamed, or is that just an illusion? In either case, what is the best way to prepare for spending and investing in the year ahead? AARP reached out to certified financial planners for tips on what older investors need to consider for the coming year. Here are their 10 best tips for 2023.

Smart Money Moves

1. Supersize your retirement plan contribution

If you are still working and have the cash flow, 2023 could be a terrific time to max out your tax deferrals, says Rachel Elson, a certified financial planner in San Francisco, California. Federal limits have jumped sharply, so with catch-up contributions, workers age 50 and up will be able to put $30,000 into workplace retirement plans like a 401(k) or 403(b).

You’ll need to have sufficient income to allow this kind of saving because you could be tying up those dollars for several years, she says. But if you’re in your peak earning stage — and especially if you’re living in a high-tax state — the tax break from maximizing your deferrals can be meaningful.

2. Double-check charitable contributions

The one place that’s most obvious for tax deductions — charitable contributions — is also the place where many folks fail to get their full deductions, says Mitchell Kraus, a certified financial planner in Santa Monica, California. In reviewing his clients’ tax returns, Kraus discovered that most of them weren’t getting the full deduction from their charitable contributions because they either took the standard deduction or they were giving from the wrong pool of money.

More than 80 percent of Americans take the standard deduction, he says. There are other options. People over age 70½ can donate up to $100,000 from their IRA. (The contribution will not count as income.) Also, donating appreciated assets, such as stocks, might not create an extra deduction, but can avoid the capital gains taxes you would have to pay if you simply sold the asset, he notes.

3. Create a business owner retirement plan

More than 54 percent of America’s small business owners are age 50 and over, according to the Service Corps of Retired Executives. Those who are self-employed can still have access to a retirement plan although many don’t realize it, says Marguerita M. Cheng, a certified financial planner in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The benefit to them is additional savings for retirement and tax savings either today or in the future. For those who have employees, the options include Simple IRA, SEP IRA or 401(k).

4. Invest in U.S. Treasury bills

Few investments offer the safety and security of U.S. Treasury bills, says Jordan Benold, a certified financial planner in Frisco, Texas. These are U.S. securities that mature in one year or less. Currently, a two- to six-month treasury bill will pay more than 4 percent, Jordan says.

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How to reverse burnout at work

Balance these 6 things to reverse burnout at work, says social psychologist and author of ‘The Burnout Challenge’

CNBC.com | Renée Onque@IAMRENEEONQUE | Nov 14 2022 | Burnout | Business Insurance

Do you struggle to pinpoint why you’re burnt out at work? Is it you? Is it your job?

It may actually be a mismatch of the two, according to Christina Maslach, a social psychologist, retired professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley and author of “The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs.” 

“You really have to look at the relationship with the job, and that means looking at both the job and the person. It’s not like one or the other,” Maslach tells CNBC Make It.

“It’s certainly not just the person who has to make the changes.”

The cure for burnout isn’t just taking time off or a starting a mindful morning routine, but it’s actually discovering how to get a better match between what your job requires of you and the tools you have to complete your duties, she says.

Maslach, and co-author of her book, Michael P. Leiter, identified six areas within your profession that should meet your standards, or else your risk of more stress and potential burnout increases.

Here are the six factors and how they may be affecting you.

Workload Burnout

It can be extremely difficult to meet high demands when you’re low on resources, says Maslach.

Lacking supportive tools like time, people, equipment or information may be affecting your ability to do your job how you’d like to.


Having autonomy, discretion and an ability to make choices are necessary in the workplace in order to feel like you’re doing your job well, she notes.

“People often complain about having a lack of control, that they’re told what to do, no ifs, ands or buts about it,” she says.


The way you feel about your salary and benefits can influence your emotions toward work. But, rewards aren’t just limited to finances.

“A lot of times, it’s social recognition, that people are pleased by what you’ve done and let you know it,” Maslach says. If you’re working hard and aren’t receiving positive feedback, you’re more likely to feel unjustified.

Community Burnout

From co-workers, bosses, and people you supervise to clients, patients, or students, everyone you interact with while working can affect your feelings about your job. Without mutual respect, trust, and support within your team, even the best job can turn into a “socially toxic workplace” that you hate, says Maslach.


“Where there’s an absence of fairness, this is where discrimination lives. This is where glass ceilings exist,” Maslach says.

Rules, policies and practices should feel equal in your work environment or it can lead to resentment, she adds. You need to believe that you have an equal chance at receiving promotions and just as many opportunities as the rest of your team.


You’re a lot more likely to quit your job if it doesn’t align with your basic moral principles, says Maslach.

Working for a company or organization where there are ethical conflicts can deter you from feeling enthusiastic about what you do, she notes.

How to approach an imbalance in these areas

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Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Economic uncertainty and risk management resilience in 2023: 3 trends to watch

Liberty Mutual | 01/06/2023 | risk management | Business Insurance

Organizations across the country face uncertainty and tough choices as economists continue to paint a gloomy picture of an impending recession.

“We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time,” notes Matthew Moore, executive vice president and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual Global Risk Solutions.

We’ve never experienced inflation, recession, pandemic, supply chain issues, social inflation, and labor shortage — all converging at the same time.

-Matthew Moore, EVP and president of underwriting for Liberty Mutual GRS

In a landscape of turbulence, how can companies effectively forecast their futures? What tools can they use to engineer resilience and reanalyze risk?

According to Moore, proactive risk-management planning, and the help of strategic partnerships with insurance providers, offer a way forward.

“Insurance can offer real solutions,” says Moore. “You need to work together with your carrier to develop smart solutions that strategically manage and mitigate risk.”

Three risk management trends to watch in 2023

In this time of uncertainty, here are three risk-management trends to look out for, along with why partnering closely with insurance providers can help companies build a roadmap for resilience.

Companies’ risk management profiles will likely shift.

For corporate risk managers, a critical takeaway is that economic turbulence has likely shifted your company’s risk profile — leaving many organizations at risk of being underinsured. As businesses may be tempted to reduce costs by cutting corners on risk mitigation, loss controls, workforce safety, good governance, and compliance, insurance providers will be keeping a close eye on risk profiles.

Property valuations are another factor impacting risk profiles. “Inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain issues all are driving property-replacement costs that are out of sync with valuations,” Moore says. In fact, Liberty Mutual’s experts estimate that a whopping 75 percent of commercial businesses are undervalued. For example, because of rising costs, a building valued at $1 million five years ago could easily cost 20 percent more to replace today. There are also other factors beyond construction costs, including the frequency and severity of weather activity and business interruption, that should be considered.

If you’re underinsured, Moore notes, “you may face another unpleasant surprise after you’ve already experienced a loss.”

Working together with your provider and broker, proactively, is the best way to help ensure your operations have the right coverage and can recover quickly after a loss.

Insurance carriers may become more selective in response to economic disruption.

It’s not just insured businesses who are carefully navigating change — insurance carriers are also feeling economic pressure. Working to stifle inflation, the Fed raised rates for the seventh time this past December, this time by 0.5 percent. With so much rapid change, insurance carriers are rethinking their business strategies.

“Commercial insurance lines can face an amplified impact, as exposure bases like payroll or sales can decline quickly, reducing premium and increasing risk,” says Moore.

As the economy slows, carriers expect a decreased demand for insurance and, consequently, a decrease in premium pricing. While carriers’ investment income might increase, their tolerance for risk may weaken. Carriers could, for example, reduce their capacity in some industries and lines based on market cycle vulnerabilities.

The potential for carriers to become more selective highlights the importance for companies to communicate any business changes — both within their organization and to their insurance partners — to mitigate any unexpected changes

Value-add insurance offerings play an even more important role in managing the total cost of risk.

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Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

Why cybersecurity leaders are actively recruiting neurodiverse talent

 Worklife News   | BY OLIVER PICKUP | JANUARY 10, 2023 | Cybersecurity | Cyber Liability Insurance

In an attempt to clamp down harder on the increased risk of cybersecurity threats to businesses, tech leaders are actively hiring neurodivergent people because of the strong problem-solving and analytical skills they can offer.

The neurodiversity spectrum is wide, ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, and Tourette syndrome, to autism and bipolarity. But common characteristics of neurodivergent individuals – including pattern-spotting, creative insights, and visual-spatial thinking – are finally being realized, not least in the cyber security sector.

Holly Foxcroft, head of neurodiversity in cyber research and consulting at professional search firm London-centered Stott and May Consulting, said that neurodivergent individuals have “spiky profiles.” Foxcroft, who is neurodivergent herself, explained that these visual representations highlight the strengths and areas needed for development or support. “Neurodivergent profiles show that individuals perform highly in areas where neurotypicals have a consistent and moderate line,” she said. 

The areas in which neurodivergent individuals have “exceeded skill” include high-level problem-solving, creative “out-the-box” thinking, hyper-focusing, and pattern spotting. “These are much-needed attributes and skills in cybersecurity,” added Foxcroft.

Unique skills for unknown unknowns

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4, a global cybersecurity awareness platform, said: “As someone on the autism spectrum, I’m very encouraged by the efforts of the security community to recruit neurodivergent employees actively.” 

The resident of Little Rock, Arkansas, is proud his work community is leading the way. He said these recruitment efforts mark an essential step in helping to overcome some of the ”inherent stigmas” associated with neurodivergence. However, Carpenter also warned against yet more generalizing “Just because someone is neurodiverse doesn’t mean that they will naturally be great coders or analysts. We don’t want to create new stereotypes.”

“Our adversaries [cybercriminals] are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets.”

Perry Carpenter, chief evangelist and strategy officer at KnowBe4.

KnowBe4’s Carpenter listed the main reasons cybersecurity leaders are “actively recruiting” neurodivergent staff. First, the community understands more than most that “unique individuals” can offer “unique skills” suited to cybersecurity. Different ways of thinking are critical in the fight against cybercriminals, who also know the benefits of employing innovators. “Our adversaries are not universally neurotypical, so it makes sense for us to have a defensive force that is also diverse and representative of their thinking patterns and skillsets,” said Carpenter. 

Whether “hyper-focused” or offering out-of-the-box thinking, neurodivergent workers enable “teams to continually grind data, identify patterns, or find solutions to complex problems that someone else might miss,” according to Carpenter.

Paul Baird, the chief technical security officer in the U.K. for cybersecurity firm Qualys, built on this theme. “If you have a neurodiverse team, they will react differently when a problem arises,” he said. “The alternative is that you have a cookie-cutter approach to security where every problem gets handled the same way each time.” 

The latter strategy struggles with unknown unknowns or unexpected events. “At that point, you need people with multiple views and backgrounds to solve these problems effectively,” Baird added.

Narrowing the cybersecurity skills gap

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5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan - Shield Insurance Blog

5 ways to get the most out of your small business’s health insurance plan

The Business Journals | By Cigna + Oscar | Oct 25, 2022 | Health Insurance

Whether you’ve just purchased small business health insurance or you’re shopping around, you’re probably aware that coverage can be costly, depending on the plan you purchase. According to a 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report, the average annual premium was $7,739 for an individual and $22,221 for a family plan. Employers helped cover 83% of the costs for a single person and 63% of a family plan.

That’s why it’s critical to make the most of the plan you have — and help your employees stay engaged. Here are five key ways you can maximize your health insurance coverage, so your employees use the plan often, become healthier and help lower your business’s costs.

1. Emphasize the health insurance plan’s customer support programs and tools.

Some health plans offer dedicated customer support, online tools, and even concierge-like services that can help employees understand and use their plan. For example, Cigna + Oscar is unique in that it offers Care Guides, a team of professionals who help members find doctors and answer their questions about specific benefits and claims. Care Guides can also help coordinate care and prepare members for their upcoming procedures.

The more employees understand how their plan works, the more likely they are to use in-network providers, purchase generic medications, and rely on other cost-saving methods. In turn, this can help you, as an employer, lower your overall costs too.

2. Encourage your employees to manage their health insurance plan digitally.

If your health plan offers a mobile app, it may be where employees can access telemedicine services and prescription refill requests and even pay their premiums online. Encourage them to make the most of these convenient, digital services. After all, they help make your business’s health plan easy to use and can increase employee satisfaction.

If you’re shopping for a health plan now, look for one that offers digital services. You may want to ask your broker:

  • What telemedicine services are available to my employees, if any?
  • Is virtual urgent care available?
  • Can employees request prescription refills online?
  • Is there an easy way for employees to search if a doctor is in-network?
  • What other digital services are available with this health plan?

The bottom line: Today’s employees want to manage their healthcare at the click of a button. A convenient and easy-to-use mobile app and website can help them do that.

3. Communicate to employees about mental health care offerings.

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4 Brothers Are Close to a World First, Nearing End of Epic 3000-Mile Row Across Atlantic–Raising 80k for Charity

4 Brothers, a 3000-Mile Row Across Atlantic, and 80k for Charity

4 Brothers Are Close to a World First, Nearing End of Epic 3000-Mile Row Across Atlantic–Raising 80k for Charity

Good News Network | Andy Corbley | Jan 11, 2023 | 4 Brothers | Boat Insurance

In a few days time, four brothers will set a world record as the first rowing team made entirely of brothers to cross the whole of the Atlantic.

While many siblings find being stuck under one roof challenging, it’s a testament to their endurance that the four of them have shared two rowing benches and one tent-sized cabin for nearly 4 weeks.

The adventurous brothers are two sets of twins—26-year-olds Jack and Hamish Friend, and 24-year-olds Euan and Arthur Friend.

The foursome from Devon, England have already raised more than 80k for charities since setting off on their epic endurance challenge nearly a month ago.

Naming their team ‘The FriendShip,’ they trained for the grueling feat for a total of 18 months ahead of their departure on December 12th from La Gomera, in the Canary Islands.

And they are expected to finally complete the Talisker Atlantic Challenge race and arrive at their destination, Antigua, in the next week. The Talisker Challenge usually consists of 20-40 rowing teams, and the boys’ latest diary entry claims they were in 4th, but gaining fast on 3rd place-holders.

“There have been some massive highs and some pretty low moments over the past 26 days,” said Hamish in a video, reflecting on their progress on Friday. “High moments from just surfing down some massive waves (…) and these amazing starry skies and amazing sunrises and sunsets.

“Low moments such as being slapped in the face by a flying fish at two in the morning, to getting absolutely soaked by these Atlantic storms that come along. Sitting in your cabin all damp and wet trying to get to sleep.”

Click here for the rest of the story and some great photos

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Flood Insurance 101

Flood Insurance 101: Understanding the Basics

Flood Insurance | Shield Insurance Agency | Self-Quoting Portal

Flooding is one of the most common and destructive natural disasters in the United States, and it can happen anywhere. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it’s important to understand the basics of flood insurance and how it can protect your home and belongings. At Shield Insurance Agency, we understand the importance of flood insurance in Michigan, which is why we have created this guide to help you understand the basics.

Flood Insurance: The Basics

First, it’s important to understand that standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. You will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy in order to be protected. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and it can be purchased through Shield Insurance Agency.

Flood insurance policies are divided into two types: building coverage and content coverage. Building coverage covers the structure of your home and any permanently attached fixtures, such as built-in appliances and cabinetry. Contents coverage covers personal possessions such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. You can purchase both types of coverage, or just one depending on your needs.

When purchasing flood insurance, it’s important to understand the difference between a preferred risk policy and a standard policy. Preferred risk policies offer lower rates for properties in low-to-moderate risk areas and are generally less expensive than standard policies. However, it’s important to note that even if you live in a low-risk area, you are still at risk of flooding.

Give Us A Call

At Shield Insurance Agency, we understand that purchasing flood insurance can be overwhelming, which is why we are dedicated to helping our customers in Michigan understand the basics of flood insurance and find the right coverage to protect their homes and belongings.

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Illinois man inhales drill bit into the lung during a dentist visit - Shield Insurance Blog

Illinois man inhales drill bit into the lung during a dentist visit

ABC30.com | Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | Drill Bit | Dental Insurance

Doctors believe that inhaling just before he coughed sent the drill bit deep into the 60-year-old’s airways.

KENOSHA, Wisconsin — This could be a dental patient’s worst nightmare.

What began as a routine visit landed an Illinois man in the hospital after he inhaled the dentist’s drill bit, WISN reported.

The CT scan tells the shocking story: An inch-long dental drill bit had lodged deep in Tom Jozsi’s lung.

“I was at the dentist getting a tooth filled, and then next thing I know I was told I swallowed this tool, so I didn’t really even feel it going down. All I felt was a cough,” Jozsi said.

Doctors believe that inhaling just before he coughed sent the metal object deep into the 60-year-old maintenance worker’s airways.

It was so deep, pulmonary expert Dr. Abdul Alraiyes said, that normal scopes couldn’t reach it.

“When I saw the CAT scan, and where that object is sitting, it was really far down on the right lower lobe of the lung,” said Alraiyes, intervention pulmonary director at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha.

“What happens if he can’t get it out? And really the answer really was, part of my lung was going to have to get removed,” Jozsi said.

That’s when Alraiyes and the Aurora Kenosha team decided to try a newer device, one not designed for removing foreign objects.

“It’s more for early detection of cancer, especially lung cancer,” Alraiyes said.

He said it’s the size of a catheter.

Video of the scan showed the medical team was able to navigate the narrow airways, reach the drill piece and pull it out, without any harm to the patient.

“I was never so happy in my life when I opened my eyes and I saw him with a smile under that mask, shaking a little plastic container that had the tool in it,” Jozsi said.

It’s a souvenir Jozsi said he now keeps on a shelf at home.

The drill bit was in the man’s lung for four days.

The doctor who removed it said he has heard from colleagues in Michigan and Ohio who reported seeing cases nearly identical to this one.

See the video of the Drill Bit!

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